Maternal attachment feelings mediate between maternal reports of depression, infant social-emotional development, and parenting stress

Z. S. Mason, R. D. Briggs, E. J. Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Objective: The current study examined whether having a positive maternal postpartum depression screening was associated with maternal report of poorer infant social-emotional development and more negative maternal report of parent-child interaction, and whether scores on a measure of maternal feelings of attachment influenced this relationship. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-two first-time mothers and their infants were assessed using self-reporting questionnaires when infants were 2 and 6 months of age. At 2 months, mothers were screened for postpartum depression and their feelings of attachment to their infants were also measured. At 6 months, mothers reported on infant social-emotional development and the parent-child interaction. Results: Findings revealed an association between having a positive screening for maternal depression at 2 months, and reports of both at-risk infant social-emotional development and parent-child dysfunctional interaction at 6 months. Further analyses indicated that maternal feelings of attachment mediated rather than moderated these relationships. Conclusions: These results suggest that the association of maternal postpartum depression with later child outcomes may be the result of the negative effects of maternal depression on maternal feelings of attachment to her infant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-394
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011



  • attachment
  • development
  • parent-child relation
  • postnatal depression
  • social-emotional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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